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Performing Permanent Distal Middle Cerebral with Common Carotid Artery Occlusion in Aged Rats to Study Cortical Ischemia with Sustained Disability


Abstract and Figures

Stroke typically occurs in elderly people with a range of comorbidities including carotid (or other arterial) atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Accordingly, when evaluating therapies for stroke in animals, it is important to select a model with excellent face validity. Ischemic stroke accounts for 80% of all strokes, and the majority of these occur in the territory of the middle cerebral artery (MCA), often inducing infarcts that affect the sensorimotor cortex, causing persistent plegia or paresis on the contralateral side of the body. We demonstrate in this video a method for producing ischemic stroke in elderly rats, which causes sustained sensorimotor disability and substantial cortical infarcts. Specifically, we induce permanent distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in elderly female rats by using diathermy forceps to occlude a short segment of this artery. The carotid artery on the ipsilateral side to the lesion was then permanently occluded and the contralateral carotid artery was transiently occluded for 60 min. We measure the infarct size using structural T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 24 hr and 8 weeks after stroke. In this study, the mean infarct volume was 4.5% ± 2.0% (standard deviation) of the ipsilateral hemisphere at 24 hr (corrected for brain swelling using Gerriet's equation, n = 5). This model is feasible and clinically relevant as it permits the induction of sustained sensorimotor deficits, which is important for the elucidation of pathophysiological mechanisms and novel treatments.
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Journal of Visualized Experiments
Copyright © 2016 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License February 2016 | 108 | e53106 | Page 1 of 12
Video Article
Performing Permanent Distal Middle Cerebral with Common Carotid Artery
Occlusion in Aged Rats to Study Cortical Ischemia with Sustained Disability
Christina Wayman*1,2, Denise A. Duricki*1,2, Lisa A. Roy3, Barbara Haenzi1, Shi-Yen Tsai4, Gwendolyn Kartje4,5,6, John S. Beech7, Diana Cash2,
Lawrence Moon1
1Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, University of London
2Department of Neuroimaging, James Black Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, University of London
3Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, Wellcome Surgical Institute, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow
4Research Service, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital
5Neurology Service, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital
6Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Neuroscience Research Institute, Loyola University Chicago
7Department of Oncology, The Gray Institute for Radiation, Oncology and Biology, University of Oxford
*These authors contributed equally
Correspondence to: Lawrence Moon at
DOI: doi:10.3791/53106
Keywords: Medicine, Issue 108, Distal middle cerebral artery occlusion, MCAO, stroke, surgery, brain ischemia, elderly rats, sustained deficit,
coagulation, sample size calculations
Date Published: 2/23/2016
Citation: Wayman, C., Duricki, D.A., Roy, L.A., Haenzi, B., Tsai, S.Y., Kartje, G., Beech, J.S., Cash, D., Moon, L. Performing Permanent Distal
Middle Cerebral with Common Carotid Artery Occlusion in Aged Rats to Study Cortical Ischemia with Sustained Disability. J. Vis. Exp. (108),
e53106, doi:10.3791/53106 (2016).
Stroke typically occurs in elderly people with a range of comorbidities including carotid (or other arterial) atherosclerosis, high blood pressure,
obesity and diabetes. Accordingly, when evaluating therapies for stroke in animals, it is important to select a model with excellent face validity.
Ischemic stroke accounts for 80% of all strokes, and the majority of these occur in the territory of the middle cerebral artery (MCA), often
inducing infarcts that affect the sensorimotor cortex, causing persistent plegia or paresis on the contralateral side of the body. We demonstrate in
this video a method for producing ischemic stroke in elderly rats, which causes sustained sensorimotor disability and substantial cortical infarcts.
Specifically, we induce permanent distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in elderly female rats by using diathermy forceps to occlude a
short segment of this artery. The carotid artery on the ipsilateral side to the lesion was then permanently occluded and the contralateral carotid
artery was transiently occluded for 60 min. We measure the infarct size using structural T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 24
hr and 8 weeks after stroke. In this study, the mean infarct volume was 4.5% ± 2.0% (standard deviation) of the ipsilateral hemisphere at 24 hr
(corrected for brain swelling using Gerriet’s equation, n = 5). This model is feasible and clinically relevant as it permits the induction of sustained
sensorimotor deficits, which is important for the elucidation of pathophysiological mechanisms and novel treatments.
Video Link
The video component of this article can be found at
Stroke is currently the third most common cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of disability1. Ischemic stroke, which comprises
80% of all strokes, often results in infarcts in the cortex causing loss in sensation (e.g., proprioception), in motor function and in attention to the
affected side2-4. The middle cerebral artery (MCA) is the largest of the vessels that draws supply from the circle of Willis and stems from the
internal carotid artery5. The MCA is the cerebral vessel most commonly affected in ischemic stroke, with strokes in this territory accounting for
65% of all ischemic strokes6,7. The MCA supplies both cortical and subcortical regions and neurological abnormalities caused by MCA stroke
vary depending on the exact location of the occlusion7. Proximal MCA occlusions affect the deep territory through the lenticulostriatal arteries and
cause large infarcts encompassing both cortical and subcortical regions. In contrast, more distal occlusions that deprive solely cortical regions of
blood flow tend to produce smaller cortical infarcts.
In large population studies, human stroke lesions range from 5-14% of the ipsilateral hemisphere8,9; malignant stroke accounts for 10% of
strokes and gives rise to larger infarcts, requiring a hemicraniectomy to reduce intracranial pressure, and patients with smaller lesions are more
likely to survive10. We demonstrate a reproducible model that produces lesions that occupy a similar proportion of the hemisphere as many
human strokes.
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Stroke is a heterogeneous disease; 75% of ischemic strokes are induced by either lacunar infarcts (from obstruction of intracranial small
vessels); cardioembolic stroke; or large artery atherosclerosis, which accounts for 30% of strokes. Symptomatic atherosclerosis is most
frequently observed at the point where the common carotid artery (CCA) branches into the internal and external carotid arteries11.
Pre-clinical models of stroke should be as similar to the human condition as possible to simulate its pathophysiology and should incorporate the
risk factors of stroke. 92% of ischemic stroke occurs in people over the age of 65, and other risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure,
and atherosclerosis, as previously discussed12. To better represent these risk factors, it is recommended to use a model that may share some of
the pathophysiological features of the natural condition. In this protocol, we have included advanced age and obstructed blood flow through the
carotid arteries.
The classic model of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) is the intraluminal filament model of proximal MCA occlusion, which reduces blood
flow in the anterior and middle cerebral arteries. Short occlusion times using this model focuses the lesion to the subcortical region, whereas
longer occlusion times can result in large lesions recruiting areas of both the cortical and subcortical areas, resulting in a higher mortality rate
in elderly rats. In comparison, the model used by our group involves performing a craniotomy and opening of the dura followed by coagulation
of the blood and destruction of a small portion of the MCA using bipolar cauterizing forceps. This diathermy model is adapted from the 1981
paper by Tamura et al.23 and the use of the craniectomy may limit raised intracranial pressure, which is a feature of the closed skull, and results
in higher reproducibility and a lower mortality rate in our surgery cohort compared to some other models13. To generate reproducible infarcts and
sustained disability we permanently occlude the proximal CCA and transiently occlude the distal CCA as per Chen et al.14 We use non-invasive
T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the extent and location of cerebral infarction, and the degree of brain swelling in the
sensorimotor cortex.
This protocol was approved by Institutional guidelines set out by King’s College London, and was performed in accordance with the UK Home
Office guidelines and Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986. Guidelines may vary between institutions; please ensure adherence to
institutional guidelines before attempting this procedure. In order to maintain aseptic technique when touching equipment, autoclave a large
piece of aluminium foil and use this to wrap around equipment handles such as on the microscope and anesthesia machine. Sterile cling film
(plastic wrap) may also be used.
1. Preparation
1. Familiarize rats with gel fluid packs (veterinary recovery gel) and soft chow for at least 48 hr prior to stroke surgery. As animals often find
difficulty with eating and drinking after the procedure, introduce the animals to these items before surgery, to minimize neophobia. House
elderly rats with wooden chew blocks to reduce the incidence of overgrown teeth (See Section 6).
2. Sterilize all surgical tools before beginning surgical procedures by autoclaving (minimum 121 °C, 15 PSI, for 15 min). Sanitize all working
surfaces using 1% chlorhexidine in 70% ethanol and use surgical drapes and maintain aseptic technique for the duration of the procedure.
3. Induce lesions on the hemisphere contralateral to the preferred paw. Allocate lesions to either the left or the right hemisphere depending on
each rat’s preferred forepaw, determined by the pre-operative baselines in the Montoya staircase test15 (see Figure 4). For simplicity, when
describing this procedure in this manuscript, the left paw is the preferred paw, and surgeries are performed on the right hemisphere. Use
Lister Hooded or Long Evans rats for these behavioural tests as they learn quickly.
Note: The staircase test is designed to measure changes in both fine and gross skilled movements following motor system damage. The
staircase consists of seven steps on each side of a central platform. If equipment for the staircase test is unavailable, the cylinder test is a
suitable alternative for testing handedness, but note that there is only a transient deficit on this test in this model of stroke, and therefore will
be unsuitable to measure long-term recovery following treatment.
1. Place three sugar pellets in the well of each step (21 pellets per side). Place rats in the staircase apparatus for 10 min and record the
number of pellets retrieved and the number of pellets displaced on each side.
Note: To be included in the task post-operatively, rats must retrieve a minimum of 75% pellets at baseline.
2. Surgery
1. Use female elderly Lister-Hooded rats at 16-18 months (250 to 400 g) and induce anesthesia with 5% isoflurane in 1.5 L/min O2. Following
induction of anesthesia, reduce the level of isoflurane and maintain it at an adequate but minimized depth for surgery (e.g., 1.5-2%). Deliver
anesthesia to the animal by a face mask, and use a scavenging system to limit the surgeon’s exposure to isoflurane.
1. Perform all procedures up to, but not including craniotomy on sham animals, as this procedure can produce behavioral deficits16.
Consider experimental goals when designing MCAO experiments, and decide whether or not a sham group to control for craniotomy
should be included.
2. Administer pain relief pre- or peri- operatively (Carprieve, 0.25 mg/kg, s. cut).
1. Add 1 ml to 19 ml sterile 0.9% saline to make the stock solution and inject 0.6 ml per 300 g rat. The use of Carprieve is preferred over
Carprofen because the former is stable at RT.
3. Shave the fur on the ventral neck region and temporal region on the right hemisphere to expose the skin. Disinfect the surgical sites using
ethanol swabs. Be sure to follow local IACUC guidelines for hair removal.
1. Perform this step away from the operating area to minimize the amount of fur at the incision site.
4. Place the rat on a corkboard covered with a sterile drape in the supine position on a heating pad. Apply lidocaine cream to the shaved
regions of the head and neck. Insert a rectal probe to monitor and maintain the animal’s temperature between 36.5-37.5 °C with a
homeothermic system.
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1. Put lacrilube ointment on the eyes to prevent drying. Give the rat an injection of atropine sulphate solution (0.05 ml of a 600 µg/ml
solution, subcutaneously) to reduce tracheal secretions.
Note: Researchers should consider measuring physiological variables such as blood gases and pressure.
5. Before beginning surgery, check the hindpaw pinch withdrawal and blink reflexes to confirm full anesthesia.
6. Under a dissecting microscope, make a 2 cm central midline incision on the exposed neck using a scalpel. Move the salivary glands gently
lateral to the trachea on both sides.
7. Loop non-absorbable silk suture around the skin that overlies the common carotid artery on one side. Gently pull away the skin from the site
using the silk suture and stick these down to the corkboard using surgical tape to reveal the common carotid artery. Carefully blunt dissect the
arteries free from surrounding fascia and the vagal nerves using fine forceps.
1. Be careful not to damage the muscle or vagus nerves during this step, as this will impair feeding, swallowing and breathing.
8. Once the common carotid artery is exposed, use non-absorbable silk suture (5/0) to isolate the carotid, first separating the carotid from the
vagus nerve by reverse dissecting with fine forceps and being careful not to make contact with the nerve. Once the vessel has been looped
(but not tied) with the suture, tape the ends of the suture together using surgical tape to prevent this step being undone. Remove the sutures
holding back the overlying skin.
9. Repeat for the other side (Sections 2.7-2.8)
10. Place a sterile saline-soaked gauze into the wound to keep tissues moist during the remainder of the surgery. Loosely suture the skin and
place an additional saline-soaked gauze over the area to prevent further dehydration.
11. Place rats in a lateral position and make an incision in the skin at the midpoint between the right orbit and the external auditory canal. Retract
the skin using up to five elastic 3 mm hook retractors pinned to the corkboard and then blunt dissect the temporalis muscle to reveal the skull.
12. Place a thumb wheel-adjusted gravity-driven saline drip above the open site (flow rate approximately 2 ml/min) and set up an aspirator
system to remove bone debris and to clear minor bleeding from the exposed site throughout this phase of the surgery (Sections 2.13-2.16).
1. Place the saline delivery nozzle at the highest point of the skull near the ear, and the aspirator nozzle at the lowest point. Adjust the
wheel during bleeds to supply more saline to the area to better visualize the source of any bleed for cautery of the vessel, reducing the
amount of time the animals are under anesthesia.
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Figure 1. Surgical set up of the permanent distal middle cerebral artery occlusion model. The equipment used in the set up for the rat
craniotomy is shown for the right hemisphere, and inset, the positioning of the aspirator and saline drip around the craniectomy site. Also
shown are the key features of the vasculature; the middle cerebral artery (red) and inferior cerebral vein (blue) are shown, and the shaded area
indicates where coagulation of the artery occurs. Confirmation of the occlusion is performed by cutting the MCA below the inferior cerebral vein.
Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.
13. Perform a craniotomy on the exposed region (approximately 5 mm x 5 mm) using a dental drill with a coarse 1.6 mm diamond coated drill
burr at approximately 8,000 rpm, ensuring the application of circular and lateral pressure and not downward pressure whilst drilling the
exposed area. Once the bone is thin enough that it looks completely transparent, remove using forceps.
14. Use a homemade dural hook, made by bending one tip of fine forceps approximately 180° to form an arc, to carefully open the dura, being
cautious to avoid the large surface blood vessels, as they are delicate and easy to rupture.
Note: The exposed area of the brain will reveal the middle cerebral artery (MCA); the desired segment measures approximately 2 mm in
length (see Figure 1, inset).
15. Coagulate the MCA from where the inferior cerebral vein crosses, to the point of artery bifurcation and then along the caudal branches of the
MCA using a pair of diathermy forceps until fully occluded17. Use angled Jeweler diathermy forceps with 0.25 mm pointed tips.
1. When occluding the artery, alter the saline flow as necessary to keep this area cool, preventing the coagulating forceps from adhering
to the blood vessel. When occluded, the blood vessel appears black and no sign of blood flow should be present; blood flow can be
seen in partially occluded vessels.
2. Cut the MCA at this point to confirm complete occlusion. Using microvascular scissors, cut beneath where the inferior cerebral vein
crosses the MCA.
3. Cover the exposed area with a saline-soaked gauze pad before continuing to the next step.
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16. Turn the rat back to a supine position and reopen the loosely tied suture on the neck to re-expose the carotid arteries. Ligate the carotid
artery on the same side as the occluded MCA (right) permanently by tying a knot in the silk suture around the carotid, whilst the left carotid
artery is occluded transiently using a 13 mm stainless steel artery clip with 125 g pressure for 60 min. Loosely suture up the incision in the
neck during this time and place a sterile saline soaked gauze on top to prevent dehydration.
1. Note that the animal’s right hand side will be on the surgeon’s left hand side, given the supine positioning.
2. For sham animals, open the ventral part of the neck and temporal regions and separate the muscles to locate the common carotid arteries,
but do not occlude. Have sham animals undergo procedures up to but not including craniotomy, as this procedure can produce behavioral
deficits16. To maintain blinding of other team members (e.g., during later behavioral testing), perform incisions and suturing.
Figure 2. Tandem carotid occlusion following middle cerebral artery occlusion. The right common carotid artery (CCA) is permanently
occluded by tying a silk suture (5/0) around the blood vessel (on the left hand side of the image). The left CCA (on the right side) is occluded for 1
hr using a microvascular clamp. These surgeries were performed taking care not to make contact with the vagus nerve on each side (white). Please
click here to view a larger version of this figure.
17. Suture the incision in the temporal region during the 1 hr of left common carotid occlusion.
18. Give rats 20 ml of saline subcutaneously (5 ml to two sites on each flank) to maintain hydration (see 6.2).
19. When 60 min has passed, remove the clip. Apply saline topically to the surrounding muscle, and close the incision in the neck using
subcutaneous continuous stitching of absorbable sutures (4/0).
3. Post Operative Care
1. Place the rat in a 31 °C incubator to recover from anesthesia for up to 4 hr.
Note: Researchers may prefer to use other temperatures and durations according to local practice.
2. Repeat carprieve (0.25 mg/kg), for pain relief at 24 hr. Because all animals receive the same dose of Carprieve, this factor is controlled for
systematically. Any neuroprotective effect of Carprieve is likely to be negligible.
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3. Give saline injections daily to prevent dehydration for at least the first three days. On the assumption that a rat requires 65 mL fluid per kg
body weight (each 24 hr), ensure that each 300 g rat receives ~22 ml fluids per day.
4. Confirmation of Infarct
1. To measure the infarct volume use structural MRI.
Note: An alternative method could be to use histological staining, such as tetrazolium chloride (TTC), which has been previously correlated to
structural MRI data18. However, this can only be used at the end point of the study, and not longitudinally.
1. Twenty-four hours after the induction of MCAO, anesthetize rats with isoflurane (5% for induction, 1-1.5% for maintenance) in 0.9 L/
min Medical Air and 1 L/min O2, secure in a quadrature birdcage magnetic resonance coil (43 mm diameter) and place in a 7 Tesla
horizontal bore scanner.
2. Obtain T2 weighted scans using a fast-spin echo sequence: echo time (TE) 60 msec, repetition time (TR) 4,000 msec, field of view
(FOV) 40 x 40 mm, acquisition matrix 128 x 128, acquiring 40 x 0.5 mm thick slices in approximately 8 min. Subsequently, convert 40
slices into 20 x 1 mm thick slices by using the resampling function in medical imaging software.
2. Obtain lesion volumes in a medical image display package by measuring the cross-sectional area of infarct in 20 volumes. Obtain the total
volume by multiplying the sum of these areas by the thickness (1 mm). Calculate the group mean volume and standard deviation. For
percentage lesion volume calculations, also acquire the volumes of the ipsilesional and contralesional hemispheres.
3. To correct for brain swelling due to edema, adjust these values using Gerriets’ formulae18. Only include slices that contain cortex and do not
contain the cerebellum or olfactory bulbs according to a standard rat atlas19 to avoid over-correction, as this can generate negative lesion
1. Acquire T2 weighted images again 8 weeks after stroke surgery.
5. Sample Size Calculations for Future Studies Assessing Neuroprotection and Behavioral
1. Perform sample size calculations to estimate the minimum sample size that would be required in future hypothetical neuroprotective
experiments using two groups (control vs. treatment) to identify treatment effects of three different magnitudes (25% reduction, 50%
reduction, 75% reduction) using the a priori algorithms implemented in power analysis software20.
Note: To enable readers to do similar calculations with their own data, there are screenshots from freely-available power analysis software
(see Representative Results). Use the following parameters: acceptable false positive rate (i.e., type I error threshold; α) ≤0.05, and power
(which equals 1-β) ≥0.80 (i.e., greater than 80% power). See below for explanations and a discussion21.
6. Elderly Animal Welfare After Stroke Surgery
1. Make available additional soft chow and rehydration gel packs that the rats were habituated to before surgery, in addition to water bottles with
extended tips for easier reaching. In addition, have an absorbable recovery pad in the cages instead of loose bedding (i.e., avoid wood chip)
for the first 24 hr, and provide extra nesting bedding. Do not use pureed food (e.g., baby food) as rats with dysphagia may choke.
2. Weigh animals daily for 7 days to monitor recovery. Weight loss is a primary indication of dehydration and stress. Weight loss in the first few
days after surgery principally reflects dehydration (rather than loss of body weight due to reduced feeding).
3. Where an ageing rat shows weight loss unrelated to surgery, replace lost body weight with an equivalent weight of fluids and inspect the top
and bottom teeth. Where teeth are overgrown, anesthetize the rat with isoflurane (as in section 2.1), and place in a supine position
1. Place a 1 ml syringe barrel behind the teeth to protect the soft tissues. Cut using a hand-held circular saw (e.g., approximately 3
cm diameter) at high rotary speed but with slow, firm hand movements (e.g., 3 sec cuts). Allow the rat’s teeth to cool down between
cuts. Ensure that the rotary saw is mounted on the mandrel so that the saw’s teeth face in the direction of rotation. It is worth keeping
individually wrapped, sterilized rotary saws ready for such eventualities.
Note: Overgrowth can occur in elderly rats even when maintained on a hard pellet diet. We recommend that teeth are checked in
elderly rats regularly.
4. Where an elderly rat shows weight loss and piloerection unrelated to surgery, discuss treatment options with a veterinarian. Consider
humanely killing the animal. MRI of such animals can show a pituitary tumor (often in elderly female rats) that is inoperable and fatal.
Representative Results
Permanent MCAO was induced by performing craniotomy, followed by coagulation and destruction of the middle cerebral artery by diathermy
combined with permanent occlusion of the ipsilesional common carotid artery and 60 min occlusion of the contralesional common carotid artery.
A schematic of the setup of the equipment and occluded MCA is shown in Figure 1, and of the carotid arteries in Figure 2 (above).
Stroke outcome was assessed 24 hr and 8 weeks after stroke by measuring the infarct volume on 40 x 0.5 mm slices (from rostral end of
olfactory bulb to rostral end of spinal cord) using the Region of Interest toolkit in a medical image display package. A representative T2 weighted
structural MRI scan is shown for the same animal at 24 hr and 8 weeks (Figure 3A). The infarct volume was identified by the areas of the
rat brain showing a hyperintense signal; as T2 weighted images show water or plasma as a bright white area. It is known that there is an
increase in edema and brain swelling after stroke, and this can be measured from a T2-weighted scan which has been correlated to histological
measurements of infarct volume18. However, edema present early after stroke (e.g., at 24 hr) can lead to an overestimation of the final lesion
volume (e.g., at 8 weeks) and therefore we also present mean infarct volumes adjusted using Gerriet’s formulae. Figure 3B shows mean data
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from the raw (unadjusted) lesion volume at 24 hr as 62.8 mm3 (± 25.4 mm3 SD, top graph); this occupies 9.8% of the affected hemisphere (±
4.2% SD, middle graph). When corrected for brain swelling using Gerriets’ formulae this value is reduced to 4.5% (± 2.0% SD, bottom graph).
Stroke severity was also measured using the Montoya staircase test15. In brief, animals were pre-trained to retrieve sugar pellets for 4 weeks
prior to MCAO stroke surgery, and tested for 8 weeks following stroke (Figure 4) to confirm a sustained deficit. Rats were placed in the staircase
apparatus for 10 min and the number of pellets retrieved was recorded (out of 21 pellets) and displayed as a percentage (group means ±
standard errors). A regression analysis was performed to fit the line to the data.
Figure 5 shows the sample size calculation using infarct volume data (for potential effects of candidate therapies), analyzed using an algorithm
in power analysis software for a t-test using “Difference between two independent means (two groups)” and using the (uncorrected) means and
standard deviations from Figure 3B. The information in Figure 5 and Table 1 show that 12 rats would be required per group to detect a therapy
that reduced infarct volume by 50% at 24 hr, whilst Figure 6 shows an “X-Y plot” of power achieved using varying numbers of animals. Table 1
summarizes sample size calculations for all time points.
Figure 3. T2-weighted structural MRI is used to measure the size of the infarct and brain swelling after stroke. (A) A T2-weighted
magnetic resonance image of the same rat brain 24 hr and 8 weeks after induction of stroke. The white area represents the lesion, but also
contains some vasogenic edema that resolves by 8 weeks. (B) Infarct volumes were measured using a medical image display package Region
of Interest Toolkit, and are plotted on a graph representing the mean ± SD for the 3 time points used (n = 6). Raw lesion volume (not corrected
for brain swelling due to edema), percentage lesion of affected hemisphere (uncorrected for swelling), and percentage lesion of hemisphere
corrected for brain swelling using Gerriets’ formulae are shown here. SD was used rather than SEM in order to perform sample size calculations
(see Figure 5). Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.
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Figure 4. The staircase test shows impairments in grasping and retrieving pellets. In this stroke model there was very little spontaneous
recovery. Stroke in elderly rats persistently impairs dexterity, shown by weekly testing using the “staircase test” of pellet reaching. Inset: A picture
of a rat performing the behavioral test. The graph shows the mean (± standard error) number of pellets retrieved (out of 21, expressed as a
percentage) per week by the affected forepaw. n = 5. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.
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Figure 5. Sample size calculations to determine group numbers of rats required to detect a desired therapeutic effect. This screen shot,
taken from power analysis software, shows that 12 rats per group would be required to detect a therapy that reduced infarct volume by 50% at
24 hr. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.
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Figure 6. Power achieved using various total numbers of animals. An “X-Y plot for a range of values” from power analysis software shows
the power that would be obtained for experiments using various (total) numbers of elderly rats, given the parameters shown in Figure 5. Table 1
summarizes all our results. Please click here to view a larger version of this figure.
Number of rats per group required to detect a reduction in lesion volume of:Time after stroke:
75% 50% 25%
24 hr 6 12 42
8 weeks 4 5 17
Table 1. Calculations of sample sizes per group for hypothetical future experiments. Calculated using power analysis software (See
Figures 5 and 6). Table shows number of rats per group required for a two-group experiment to detect a 25%, 50% and 75% reduction in lesion
volume at each of the timepoints in this study.
MCAO in rodents is a technique often used to model human stroke. This model does have a few details to note in the protocol. Firstly, it
is essential to maintain the animal’s body temperature throughout the experiment as this affects the size of the infarct and the number of
mortalities in a study. It may be possible to discontinue isoflurane during the transient occlusion of the right CCA and keep rats in a warmed,
quiet environment to increase survival rates by reducing exposure to isoflurane. Researchers should consider whether a shorter anesthesia
period outweighs the stress of additional induction. The vasculature (e.g., MCA branching) of the rats varies within and between cohorts of
animals22. It is important to bear this in mind when beginning a new study. Different CCA occlusion times can be evaluated (e.g., 30, 45, 60 and
90 min). In this study an occlusion time of 60 min is used. In other studies we have found that 45 min occlusions cause a similar sized cortical
infarct but with anecdotal evidence of improved survival rates. Accordingly, have the surgeons start with a short occlusion time (e.g., 30 min)
to see whether adequate lesion volumes (and/or required behavioral deficits) are obtained and only then to increase occlusion times where
necessary. Behavioural deficits are not sustained in adult rats compared to elderly rats with identical occlusion times.
MRI can be used to judge whether (after a particular occlusion time) lesion volumes are appropriate for the study goals. A small lesion would
span less than ten 0.5 mm coronal slices (out of 40). A medium size lesion would span between ten and twenty coronal slices. A large lesion
would span between twenty and thirty coronal slices. A very large lesion would span more than thirty of the forty slices. In our experience, rats
with very large lesions (more than thirty slices) and/or evidence of herniation across the midline usually have poor prognosis: shorter occlusion
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times might be considered. MRI is also useful for assessing the infarct location: some are more caudally located and some are more rostrally
Take extra care when separating the vagus nerve from both common carotid arteries. Rales (rasping) may occur after stroke surgery and this
could be due to nerve damage in some animals, although the cause is currently unclear: in our experience, prognosis is very poor for these
animals and it is usually recommended to humanely kill them.
The permanent diathermy MCAO model results in reproducible cortical infarcts and acceptable post-operative survival rates in elderly rats. The
technique does, however, require invasive surgery under a stereomicroscope. It is important to maintain aseptic technique if animals are to
recover well from surgery. Care must be taken not to damage the MCA while exposing and coagulating the artery, and damage to the cortical
surface should be minimized otherwise the exposed area of the cortex may form part of the infarct area. It is recommended to obtain as much
experience as possible to establish the procedure and to achieve consistent infarcts and determine occlusion times before a study is performed
to test candidate therapies, for example. Experimenters should randomize any treatments within surgery sessions (“block randomization”)
where possible. It is worth noting that this model does not involve MCA reperfusion (unless transient MCA ligation is used instead of diathermy).
Mortality can be high in elderly rats with these large cortical infarcts but it should be possible to reduce mortality by using shorter occlusion times
and by minimizing exposure to general anesthesia where possible (e.g., during occlusion). The use of 70% N2O and 30% O2 as a carrier may
allow lower levels of isoflurane to be used: this reduced exposure to isoflurane may result in higher survival rates.
Another point to consider is that atherosclerosis is a gradual process, whereas in this protocol we simulate it with acute CCA occlusion. However,
the substantial reduction in blood flow and sustained deficits simulate tandem occlusions that occur in many stroke patients. Permanent distal
MCAO without tandem CCA occlusion in rats fails to induce strokes reproducibly14: moreover, without tandem CCA occlusion, we have found
considerable spontaneous recovery occurs that precludes long-term behavioral evaluation of stroke therapies over 8 weeks. In contrast, we
show that distal MCAO with tandem CCA occlusion induces long-term deficits in elderly rats.
In conclusion, this procedure in rats causes strokes that are similar in size and location to those seen in the human condition, with sustained
disability that one can use to enable the testing of novel treatments and elucidation of repair mechanisms after ischemic stroke.
The authors have nothing to disclose.
We would like to thank Prof. I Mhairi Macrae and Dr. Debbie Dewar, University of Glasgow, who kindly hosted CW and DD for training in this
procedure. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's
Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement n. 309731 to LM. This work was also supported by a “Serendipity
Grant” from The Dunhill Medical Trust to LM [grant number: SA21/0512].
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... Among these methods, craniotomy is a common method, that has the advantage of allowing direct visualization of MCA through the surgical field (9). After the MCA has been exposed, it can be occluded by coagulation, transection, ligation or clips (7). ...
Background/aim: Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rodents is an essential animal model for research focusing on ischemic stroke. To date, several kinds of surgical methods for MCAO have been developed and the craniotomy method has the advantage of direct visualization of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). MCAO at a more proximal site produces better surgical results, but it is a more invasive technique. The aim of this study was to evolve the surgical technique for simulating ischemic cerebral cortex injury in rats. Materials and methods: To approach proximal MCA with a less invasive procedure, a modified surgical technique for MCAO in rats was developed. Besides, rats receiving the modified and conventional method were compared with regard to infarct volume and by behavioral tests. Results: Following craniotomy, we proposed that the inferior edge of the craniotomy should be enlarged with fine forceps. This modified surgical method induces larger infarct volume, significant behavioral impairment and can induce ischemic stroke. Additionally, it does not significantly increase the operation time, and has produced no obvious complications. Conclusion: This modified surgical technique may serve as a practical method for performing MCAO.
... The aged brain displays a higher susceptibility to hypoxia compared with young animals in the acute phase of stroke [25,26]. On MRI images, aged ischemic rats displayed more severe lesions, which had similar localizations, but higher incidence and more rapid appearance than in the young rats [22,23,27,28]. With the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), it was demonstrated that patterns of bihemispheric reorganization (increase of the fMRI response in the ipsilateral somatosensory cortex and bilateral thalamic activation) after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in aged rats, were the same as in young animals, although the overall time course of recovery in aged rats was more prolonged than that in young rats [24,29]. ...
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The aging process, comorbidities, and age-associated diseases are closely dependent on each other. Cerebral ischemia impacts a wide range of systems in an age-dependent manner. However, the aging process has many facets which are influenced by the genetic background and epigenetic or environmental factors, which can explain why some people age differently than others. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify age-related changes in body functions or structures that increase the risk for stroke and which are associated with a poor outcome. Multimodal imaging, electrophysiology, cell biology, proteomics, and transcriptomics, offer a useful approach to link structural and functional changes in the aging brain, with or without comorbidities, to post-stroke rehabilitation. This can help us to improve our knowledge about senescence firstly, and in this context, aids in elucidating the pathophysiology of age-related diseases that allows us to develop therapeutic strategies or prevent diseases. These processes, including potential therapeutical interventions, need to be studied first in relevant preclinical models using aged animals, with and without comorbidities. Therefore, preclinical research on ischemic stroke should consider age as the most important risk factor for cerebral ischemia. Furthermore, the identification of effective therapeutic strategies, corroborated with successful translational studies, will have a dramatic impact on the lives of millions of people with cerebrovascular diseases.
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Focal ischemia occurs when an embolus or thrombus occludes an artery, causing the rapid obstruction of cerebral blood flow. Although stroke represents a main cause of disability and mortality in developing countries, therapeutic approaches available for this condition remain very limited. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of the phytochemical, 6-gingerol, on the brain infarct volume, neuronal loss and on the oxidative stress parameters, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and interleukin (IL)-6, in an animal model of focal ischemic stroke. Male Wistar rats, weighing 250-300 g, were divided into the following six groups: i) The control; ii) right middle cerebral artery occlusion (Rt.MCAO) + vehicle; iii) Rt.MCAO + piracetam; iv) Rt.MCAO + 6-gingerol (6-Gin) at 5 mg/kg body weight (BW); v) Rt.MCAO + 6-Gin at 10 mg/kg BW; and vi) the Rt.MCAO + 6-Gin at 20 mg/kg BW group. The rats in each group received the vehicle or piracetam or 6-gingerol intraperitoneally for 7 days following Rt.MCAO. The brain infarct volume, neuronal loss and alterations in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory levels were assessed in the cortex and hippocampus. The results revealed that the brain infarct volume, malondialdehyde level and the density ratio of COX-2 and IL-6 to β-actin were significantly decreased following treatment with 6-gingerol. In addition, neuronal density and superoxide dismutase activity in the cortex and hippocampus were increased. On the whole, the findings of the present study suggest that 6-gingerol exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in vivo, which effectively ameliorate the brain damage induced by focal cerebral ischemic strok.
Background: L-proline transporter (PROT/SLC6A7) is closely associated with glutamatergic neurotransmission, where L-proline modulates the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) function. NMDAR-mediated excitotoxicity is a primary cause of neuronal death following stroke, which is triggered by the uncontrolled release of glutamate during the ischemic process. After ischemic stroke, L-proline levels show a reduction in the plasma, but high circulating levels of this molecule indicate good functional recovery. This work aimed to produce new PROT inhibitors and explore their effects on ischemic stroke. Methods: Initially, we built a three-dimensional model of the PROT protein and run a molecular docking with the newly designed compounds (LQFM215, LQFM216, and LQFM217). Then, we synthesized new PROT inhibitors by molecular hybridization, and proline uptake was measured in ex vivo and in vivo models. The behavioral characterization of the treated mice was performed by the open-field test, elevated plus-maze, Y-maze, and forced swimming test. We used the permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model to study the ischemic stroke damage and analyzed the motor impairment with limb clasping or cylinder tests. Results: LQFM215 inhibited proline uptake in hippocampal synaptosomes, and the LQFM215 treatment reduced proline levels in the mouse hippocampus. LQFM215 reduced the locomotor and exploratory activity in mice and did not show any anxiety-related or working memory impairments. In the MCAO model, LQFM215 pre-treatment and treatment reduced the infarcted area and reduced motor impairments in the cylinder test and limb clasping. Conclusions: This dataset suggests that the new compounds inhibit cerebral L-proline uptake and that LQFM215 promotes neuroprotection and neuro-repair in the acute ischemic stroke model.Graphical abstract
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Ischemic stroke occurs with no warning, and therefore, very little is known about hemodynamic perturbations in the brain immediately after stroke onset. In this study, functional ultrasound imaging was used to monitor the hemodynamic changes in relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) compared to baseline. rCBV variations were analyzed brain-wide and continuously at high spatiotemporal resolution (100μm, 2Hz) until 70mins after stroke onset in rats. We compared two stroke models, with either a permanent occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAo) or a tandem occlusion of both the common carotid and middle cerebral arteries (CCAo+MCAo). We observed a typical hemodynamic pattern, including a quick drop of the rCBV after MCAo, followed by spontaneous reperfusion of several brain regions located in the vicinity of the ischemic core. The severity and location of the ischemia were highly variable between animals. Still, both parameters were, on average, in good agreement with the final ischemic lesion volume measured 24hrs after stroke onset for the MCAo but not the CCAo+MCAo model. For the latter, we observed that the infarct was extended to regions that were initially not ischemic and located rostrally of the ischemic core. These regions strongly colocalize with the origin of transient hemodynamic events associated with spreading depolarizations.
FAILLOT, M., A. CHAILLET, S. PALFI and S. SENOVA. Rodent models used in preclinical studies of deep brain stimulation to rescue memory deficits…NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV 21(1) XXX-XXX, YEAR.- Deep brain stimulation paradigms might be used to treat memory disorders in patients with stroke or traumatic brain injury. However, proof of concept studies in animal models are needed before clinical translation. We propose here a comprehensive review of rodent models for Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke. We systematically review the histological, behavioral and electrophysiological features of each model and identify those that are the most relevant for translational research.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) paradigms, using non-invasive approaches, can provide relevant findings about brain aging. The attention has been primarily focused on neurodegenerative diseases, while little or nothing has been done to differentiate physiology from pathology. The present study aimed to test diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional MRI (fMRI) metrics to analyze physiological age-related changes in rats at myelin structure and activation level; findings were validated by ex vivo histology. The purpose is to find comparable biomarkers in rodents and humans to allow a reliable translation from pre-clinical to clinical settings. Data evidenced: i) a significantly higher cerebrospinal fluid volume in middle-aged and aged vs. young rats; ii) a progressive alteration of white matter; iii) a significant reduction of evoked activity in aged animals. These results partially mirror the age-related changes in humans and may represent a preliminary step to find reliable tools for a lifelong monitoring with a value for the clinical practice (e.g., to provide support to the early diagnosis of dementia in asymptomatic subjects).
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There is an urgent need for a therapy which reverses disability after stroke when initiated in a time frame suitable for the majority of new victims. Neurotrophin-3 (NT3) is a growth factor made by muscle spindles and skin which is required for the survival, development and function of locomotor circuits involving afferents from muscle and skin that mediate proprioception and tactile sensation. We set out to determine whether subcutaneous supplementation of NT3 improves sensorimotor recovery after stroke in elderly rats. We show that one-month-long subcutaneous infusion of NT3 protein induces sensorimotor recovery after cortical stroke in elderly rats. Specifically, in a randomised, blinded pre-clinical trial, we show improved dexterity, walking and sensory function in rats following cortical ischemic stroke when treatment with NT3 is initiated 24 hours after stroke. Importantly, NT-3 was given in a clinically-feasible timeframe via this straightforward route. MRI and histology showed that recovery was not due to neuroprotection, as expected given the delayed treatment. Rather, anterograde tracing showed that corticospinal axons from the less-affected hemisphere sprouted in the spinal cord from cervical levels 2 to 8. Importantly, Phase I and II clinical trials by others show that repeated, subcutaneously administered high doses of recombinant NT-3 are safe and well tolerated in humans with other conditions. This paves the way for NT-3 as a therapy for stroke.
Developing reliable and reproducible animal model is of great importance in the therapeutic research of ischemic stroke. The location and volume of injury are varied in different animal models. Researchers choose different animal models according to the research purposes. In this chapter, we summarized the system of ischemic stroke models.
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We describe a positive influence of pre-stroke surgery on recovery and survival in a commonly used experimental stroke model. Two groups of male, stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSPs) underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Group 1 underwent the procedure without any prior intervention whilst group 2 had an additional general anaesthetic 6 days prior to tMCAO for a cranial burrhole and durotomy. Post-stroke recovery was assessed using a 32 point neurological deficit score and tapered beam walk and infarct volume determined from haematoxylin-eosin stained sections. In group 2 survival was 92% (n=12) versus 67% in group 1 (n=18). In addition, post-tMCAO associated weight loss was significantly reduced in group 2. There was no significant difference between the two groups in experimental outcomes: infarct volume (Group 1 317±18.6mm(3) versus Group 2 332±20.4mm(3)), and serial (day 0-14 post-tMCAO) neurological deficit scores and tapered-beam walk test. Drilling a cranial burrhole under general anaesthesia prior to tMCAO in SHRSP reduced mortality and gave rise to infarct volumes and neurological deficits similar to those recorded in surviving Group 1 animals. This methodological refinement has significant implications for animal welfare and group sizes required for intervention studies.
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G*Power is a free power analysis program for a variety of statistical tests. We present extensions and improvements of the version introduced by Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, and Buchner (2007) in the domain of correlation and regression analyses. In the new version, we have added procedures to analyze the power of tests based on (1) single-sample tetrachoric correlations, (2) comparisons of dependent correlations, (3) bivariate linear regression, (4) multiple linear regression based on the random predictor model, (5) logistic regression, and (6) Poisson regression. We describe these new features and provide a brief introduction to their scope and handling.
A study with low statistical power has a reduced chance of detecting a true effect, but it is less well appreciated that low power also reduces the likelihood that a statistically significant result reflects a true effect. Here, we show that the average statistical power of studies in the neurosciences is very low. The consequences of this include overestimates of effect size and low reproducibility of results. There are also ethical dimensions to this problem, as unreliable research is inefficient and wasteful. Improving reproducibility in neuroscience is a key priority and requires attention to well-established but often ignored methodological principles.
Across the street from me lives an amicable, recently retired engineer who loves to chat. He grew up in Europe and was educated there, but he has spent most of his professional life in North America and has an interesting perspective on scientific cultural differences between the New and Old Worlds. He has told me on several occasions that while Americans are superb at execution (ie, getting the job done), the less practical but perhaps more creative and intellectual European way of looking at and solving problems has benefits. Having read this book, I could not agree more.
The neural basis underlying somatosensory impairment and recovery poststroke is virtually unexplored. To investigate the relationship between touch discrimination impairment and task-related brain activation in stroke survivors with somatosensory impairment following subcortical or cortical lesions. A total of 19 stroke survivors with touch impairment were investigated using fMRI and a touch discrimination paradigm 1-month poststroke; 11 had subcortical and 8 cortical sensory lesions; 12 age-matched healthy controls were also studied. Mean task-related contrast images were regressed with sensory impairment using random effects analysis for each subgroup and the total group. There was no significant difference in touch impairment between stroke subgroups. Touch discrimination of the affected hand correlated negatively with task-related activation in the ipsilesional primary somatosensory cortex (SI; adjacent to the SI hand area activated in healthy controls); ipsilesional secondary somatosensory cortex (SII); contralesional thalamus; and attention-related frontal and occipital regions in the subcortical group. In contrast, the cortical group did not show significant correlated activity. Yet there was no significant between-group difference in a priori somatosensory regions: only in the superior medial frontal gyrus. A negative correlation was observed in the contralesional thalamus for the total group, irrespective of lesion type. The findings provide novel evidence of neural correlates of poststroke touch impairment involving a distributed network of ipsilesional SI and SII, the contralesional thalamus, and frontal attention regions, particularly following subcortical lesions. Further systematic investigation of a modulatory role for ipsilesional SI, the thalamus, and frontal attention regions in sensory processing and recovery is warranted, particularly given implications for rehabilitation.
Background: Sensory impairments significantly limit the ability to use the upper limb after stroke. However, little is known about the effects of interventions used to address such impairments. Objectives: To determine the effects of interventions that target upper limb sensory impairment after stroke. Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (last searched 8 October 2009), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2009, Issue 1), MEDLINE (1966 to January 2009), EMBASE (1980 to January 2009), and six further electronic databases to January 2009. We also handsearched relevant journals, contacted authors in the field, searched doctoral dissertation databases, checked reference lists, and completed citation tracking. Selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials and controlled trials comparing interventions for sensory impairment after stroke with no treatment, conventional treatment, attention placebo or with other interventions for sensory impairment. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors selected studies, assessed quality and extracted data. We analyzed study data using mean differences and odds ratios as appropriate. The primary outcome we considered was sensory function and secondary outcomes examined included upper limb function, activities of daily living, impact of stroke and quality of life as well as adverse events. Main results: We included 13 studies, with a total 467 participants, testing a range of different interventions. Outcome measures included 36 measures of sensory impairment and 13 measures of upper limb function. All but two studies had unclear or high risk of bias. While there is insufficient evidence to reach conclusions about the effects of interventions included in this review, three studies provided preliminary evidence for the effects of some specific interventions, including mirror therapy for improving detection of light touch, pressure and temperature pain; a thermal stimulation intervention for improving rate of recovery of sensation; and intermittent pneumatic compression intervention for improving tactile and kinesthetic sensation. We could not perform meta-analysis due to a high degree of clinical heterogeneity in both interventions and outcomes. Authors' conclusions: Multiple interventions for upper limb sensory impairment after stroke are described but there is insufficient evidence to support or refute their effectiveness in improving sensory impairment, upper limb function, or participants' functional status and participation. There is a need for more well-designed, better reported studies of sensory rehabilitation.
A novel reaching test for the rat has been developed to assess the independent use of forelimbs in skilled reaching and grasping tasks. The apparatus is a plexiglas box with a removable baited double staircase. Food pellets are placed on the staircase and presented bilaterally at 7 graded stages of reaching difficulty to provide objective measures of side bias, maximum forelimb extension and grasping skill. In the present experiment, the apparatus was used to assess the reaching performance of rats following unilateral lesions of the sensorimotor cortex, unilateral lesions of the posterior cortex or bilateral lesions of the olfactory bulbs. The task has the advantage of objective over rating measurement, and the simplicity of the apparatus permits many animals to be tested concurrently.
As part of a prospective therapy study of 65 patients with acute, nonhemorrhagic, cerebral infarction, computed tomographic scans of the head were obtained at admission, 7-10 days, and 3 months. The scans were analyzed for the presence, site, size, and volume measurement of the infarction. At 7-10 days, the mean infarction volume as measured by computed tomography was 55 cm3 or about 4 x 4 x 3.5 cm (range = 0-507 cm3). At 3 months, the mean infarction volume decreased by 25% to 41 cm3. For the 26 scans showing infarction at the time of admission, the mean lesion volume was 33 cm3 at admission, 51 cm3 at 7-10 days, and 49 cm3 at 3 months. With lesion size at 7-10 days expressed as percentage of total brain volume, the mean infarction size was only 5%. Of the 49 patients with lesions revealed by computed tomography at 7-10 days, 20 had an infarction of 1% or less of total brain volume, while only six had an infarction of 20% or more of total brain volume. The lesion volumes as measured by the 7-10-day computed tomography correlated with the neurologic examination scores on admission (Spearman's rank-order correlation = 0.78) and with the scores at 1 week (Spearman's rank-order correlation = 0.79).
In the search for a more reproducible focal ischemic stroke model in the rat, we systematically interrupted blood flow to the right middle cerebral artery territory by ligating the right middle cerebral artery, and the right and left common carotid arteries in succession. Using a laser-Doppler flowmeter, we found that the relative surface blood flow in cerebral cortex supplied by the right middle cerebral artery decreased to 62, 48, and 18% of baseline respectively after successive ligation of the right middle cerebral artery, and the right and left common carotid arteries. A focal infarct in the cerebral cortex supplied by the right middle cerebral artery was consistently noted after ligation of the right middle cerebral and the right common carotid arteries and temporary clip occlusion of the left common carotid artery for 60 min. The surface areas of infarction measured 100 +/- 6 mm2 and the maximal cross-sectional area of infarction was 10.4 +/- 1.1 mm2 (N = 10). The mortality rate was 7% (N = 70). The characteristic changes of ischemic necrosis were limited to the cortex with sparing of subcortical structures. No motor deficits occurred. Occlusion of the right middle cerebral artery alone or together with the right common carotid artery did not consistently cause gross infarction and the maximal cross-sectional area of infarction was smaller (the right middle cerebral artery, 1.7 +/- 0.8 mm2, N = 10; the right middle cerebral artery plus the right common carotid artery, 4.8 +/- 1.9 mm2, N = 10). Permanent ligation of the right middle cerebral artery and both common carotid arteries had a high mortality (60% in 3 days, N = 10).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)